Feet are the focus of expanded diabetes-treatment programs on First Nations


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Ottawa is expected to pump $1.5 million over the next year into the first comprehensive diabetes-treatment program for foot care on Manitoba First Nations.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/09/2017 (2085 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Ottawa is expected to pump $1.5 million over the next year into the first comprehensive diabetes-treatment program for foot care on Manitoba First Nations.

The first ever regional program designed for and delivered by Indigenous people in their own communities for the one of the most tragic complications of diabetes is expected to the subject of an official announcement Tuesday in Portage la Prairie.

The announcement is timed to coincide with the Nanaandawewigamig annual general meeting on the Long Plains urban reserve in Portage la Prairie at the Keeshkeemaguah Conference and Gaming Centre.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES A podiatry room in the Saul Sair Health Centre in the Siloam Mission.

A number of First Nations chiefs, including the province’s three grand chiefs, are expected to attend. No federal ministers are expected, however.

The size of the funding injection was called “substantial,” in a media advisory released Monday.

Rates of diabetes are three to five times higher for Indigenous Canadians compared to the general population. On some First Nations, 26 per cent of residents have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Nerve damage from diabetes is thought to be the leading cause of amputation among indigenous Canadians. Circulatory problems also account for soaring rates of respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

Nanaandawewigamig, the Manitoba First Nations Health and Social Secretariat, has lobbied Ottawa repeatedly to fill in gaps in care in the hopes of stabilizing diabetes and turning the tables on its devastating complications.

Ottawa has funded programs in the past, but never more than a few hundred-thousand dollars a year. That money has been funnelled through the University of Manitoba’s Northern Medical Unit, which Ottawa uses to supply fly-in doctors to the north.

In 2016, health-care experts with the secretariat asked Ottawa for more than $19 million over four years for diabetes-related foot-care clinics in all of Manitoba’s 60-plus First Nations communities. This past summer, federal health-care officials and First Nations diabetes advocates met over two days to put at least some of those dollars on the table and set up a plan to roll out services.

In Manitoba, nine First Nations have advanced programs in this specialized area, 21 others have basic services and the rest — 34 communities, mostly in the north — have no services.

With the announcement, Ottawa is also expected to make the funding available for the first time through a First Nations-run agency. Nanaandawewigamig will work directly with Manitoba tribal councils to provide the services. First Nations that aren’t aligned with tribal councils will be provided with their own funding.

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